Buying and Leasing Tips

Auto dealers have a reputation for being tough negotiators. If that’s all you did eight hours a day, you’d be pretty good at it too. But if, like most people, you only buy a new car once every several years (or less), you’re a paper tiger getting into the ring with a champion. Doing some research and knowing the best prices available in the market can help even the playing field.

In the "Discounts and Incentives Guide" app, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. The Guide lists the best deals available in your metro market based on competitive quotes from dealers. You can request a copy of the app in the "Find a Car" tile.

Reference Pricing

Get ready for your negotiation by establishing a reference or baseline price for your new electric car. That’s the maximum price you’re willing to pay. If the dealer won’t do a deal at that price, walk out the door. Even if there’s not another better deal out there (there almost always is) the salesman will call you back at least once and offer better pricing or terms (assuming your reference price is based in reality because you’ve done your homework starting with this article).


National Lease Offers

Lease offers published on the manufacturer web site should serve as not-to-exceed guidelines when negotiating with a dealer. You should never have to pay more than that price, and you may be able to pay much less.



Dealer Advertised Specials

Dealer advertisements, on the other hand, can serve as examples of what is achievable and in some cases represent the best deal possible. Dealers will often dangle a single unit as a loss leader to get the phone to ring and bring people down to the lot, where the customer is shown many other higher-optioned and higher priced cars. That’s the way the game is played, but understand that the dealer must honor the advertised price on a specific vehicle if it’s still in stock when you come to buy it. If that specific vehicle is not available, the advertised price represents a reference price point, usually toward the lower bound.


Market Pricing

TrueCar has historical purchase pricing data for all cars nationwide. They present the information in an easy to interpret bell curve chart that can help you understand the typical discounts off MSRP.


The Bargains

"EV Vin" has compiled a table with recent offers from a variety of dealers that publish lease deals online. These serve mostly as reference pricing, since by the time you see this table and get down to a dealer, a specific vehicle may no longer be available. But it does give you an idea of the kind of pricing a dealer may be willing to offer if you play your cards right.

EV Vin's Lease Deals Page


ECI Discounts and Incentives Guide

The "ECI Discounts and Incentives Guide" mobile app for tablets and large format phones lists pricing from all dealers in a metro area who responded to a request for best pricing. It's not available in all metro areas. If there's not pricing available for your metro market, the guide can be used as a reference to the level of discounts available for each make and model.


The Road Ahead

Within the next few years, several dozen more plug-in models are expected to hit the market. The extra competition will almost certainly put downward price pressure on the battery electrics and plug-in hybrids that have been available for several years. That may be a great reason to take advantage of today’s lease deals instead of buying.




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